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For most children, interacting with others comes quite naturally. But for some kids, and especially those with conditions such as high functioning Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, learning difficulties, ADHD, or even those with no specific diagnosis at all, connecting with others can be a struggle.
If your child needs help to learn and practice social skills, Kids First’s Social Skills groups offer a safe and fun environment in which to learn how to have positive conversations, fit in and manage the social and emotional demands of making and keeping friendships.
Is a Kids First Social Skills group right for your child?
Kids First’s Social Skills groups are an excellent option for children who struggle to succeed in everyday social situations.
Typically, children who get the most benefit from our program are kids who have average to above average learning skills and are able to speak and listen well. Many Social Skills group members have experience of speech therapy, occupational therapy or counselling sessions that have focused on building their communication and emotional regulation skills.
One of Kids First’s Social Skills groups could be perfect for your child if he or she:
- Is socially anxious or awkward
- Struggles to interpret other people’s body language, facial expressions and tone of voice
- Plays on the ‘periphery’ of groups
- Uses inappropriate strategies to get other kids’ attention
- Makes friends, but loses them quickly
- Finds it hard to start a conversation
- Can’t (or won’t) talk about the things that their peers are interested in
- Struggles to work collaboratively in a group at school
- Finds it hard to understand other people’s points of view
- Is being excluded from social opportunities as a result of peers perceiving them to be quirky or different
How will a Social Skills group help your child?
Kids First’s social skills groups take the mystery out of making and keeping friends. In a caring, supportive small group environment, we teach practical strategies that are easy to understand. By helping your child to form the foundations of social success, we show them how to:
- Make sense of other people’s non-verbal communication
- Start, and continue, a conversation
- Negotiate and solve problems when things don’t go their way
- Understand hidden social rules
- Manage group dynamics and fit in
- Identify the effect of their behaviour on others
- See things from another person’s point of view
- Control and regulate their own emotions
- Think flexibly
Kids First’s Social Skills Groups
Kids First’s Social Skills groups are led by our accredited speech and occupational therapists and offer fun, practical support that’s full of laughter and learning.
Ages 4-6: We Thinkers
Our ‘We Thinkers’ groups provide a fun environment that uses stories and games to help older preschoolers and Kindy kids successfully participate in social interactions. Each week, your ‘We Thinker’ will develop their social communication skills by using the adventures of ‘We Thinker’ storybook characters to tune into others, practice their collaboration and cooperation competencies and learn to think more flexibly. At the end of each 45 minute session, you are invited to join the fun so that your children can continue to practice at home.
We Thinkers groups currently run at 11.15am on Mondays and 1.15pm on Thursdays. Please inquire about availability.
Ages 5-7: Social Detectives
Our ‘Social Detectives’ gather each week to learn the social ‘smarts’ they need to gather clues, work out what’s going on and how to predict what’s expected in a social situation. Your ‘Social Detective’ will learn to use their eyes, ears, and brains to figure out what their peers, siblings and others are planning to do next (or are presently doing) and what they mean by their words and actions. A key resource used with this age group is an entertaining comic book that reinforces the social thinking concepts that are being taught. Parents and carers join us at the end of each 45 minute session so that our group members can be supported as they continue their ‘investigations’ at home and school.
Social Detectives groups currently run at 4.00pm on Tuesday afternoons. Please inquire about availability and Social Detectives school holiday camps.
Ages 10-12: Super Flex
Super Flex is a fun and motivating, superhero-themed group program for older primary schoolers and young high schoolers. Using the ‘secret superhero’ that lives within them, our ‘super-flexible’ group members learn to use their brains to overcome the powers of the ‘Unthinkables’ – a group of tricky social behaviours that can get in the way of friendships if they are allowed to take over. Super Flex groups build kids’ awareness of their own thoughts and behaviours. They focus on helping children to process social information, behave in expected ways and be more collaborative with others. Parents and carers attend the end of each session to ensure that our ‘Super Flexers’ have all the help they need to succeed from their families and teachers.
Super Flex groups currently run at 8.30am on Thursday mornings. Please inquire about availability and Super Flex school holiday camps.
Social Skills Groups at Kids First
Kids First’s Social Skills groups use the evidence-based Social Thinking® model and resources developed by renowned social skills expert, Michelle Garcia Winner,
Our programs focus on helping children to solve their social skills problems by building social competence in a fun and easy way.
As Kids First is a children’s health service, your child may eligible for rebates from private health funds or your self-managed or plan-managed NDIS funding. (Please check with your fund or NDIS Plan for the specifics that are relevant to your child)
How To Enrol Your Child in a Kids First Social Skills Group
Social Skills groups are popular, but they are not always the best ‘fit’ for everyone. Participation in a group is a demanding thing for some children and that is why we require children to have a minimum level of language and learning skills before they join a ‘We Thinkers’, ‘Social Detectives’ or ‘Super Flex’ group
If your son or daughter is new to Kids First Children’s Services, a preliminary session with one of our Social Skills trained speech or occupational therapists is needed to determine the potential benefits of this program for your child. We ask that you provide recent copies of all medical and diagnostic reports that are relevant to your child’s academic, behavioural and language abilities to help us to plan a program that will meet your child’s needs.
Ready to find out more?
Contact Kids First Children’s Services on 9938 5419 to chat about your child’s Social Skills needs. Click Here